Rabobank, the Dutch co-operative banking group and a major lender to the international agriculture sector, today reported a 20% rise in 2015 net profit to €2.21 billion in a rebounding Dutch economy. 

The dominating factor was a fall in loan provisions of more than €1 billion, to €343m, though Rabobank said that low level would probably not be maintained in 2016. 

Rabobank in December announced plans to shed 9,000 jobs, a fifth of its workforce.

It also said it would sell as much as €150 billion worth of assets on its balance sheet by 2020 to make itself more resilient to financial shocks. 

The bank's chief executive Wiebe Draijer said the bank would press ahead with those plans, having completed a change to its corporate structure in which cooperation members have been made legally subordinate to the head office in Utrecht. 

He said the moves would lead to a reduction in the bank's cost-income ratio, which was 65.2% in 2015, "towards the 50% mark" in 2020.

Rabobank echoed remarks made by rival ABN Amro in its earnings report earlier this week that, despite a Dutch economy forecast to grow by at least 2% in 2016, businesses in the Netherlands were not taking new loans. 

Rabobank's loan book shrank by €3.5 billion to €426.2 billion in 2015.